CLEVELAND—Shen Yun Performing Arts is on a mission. After watching Shen Yun at The State Theatre at Playhouse Square on Feb. 4, physician Eric Dudenhoefer was able to justify that Shen Yun’s performers have internalized this mission and that their sense of purpose can be visibly seen in their expressions.
“It’s fantastic,” Mr. Dudenhoefer said of the performance. “Very strong. Very joyful … I think both the men and the women dancers just show an inner strength and sense of history, and pride in that history.”
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture and to present the beauty of China before communism. Based in New York, Shen Yun was founded in 2006 by leading Chinese artists and quickly became the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company.
“When you look at the way the dancers move with one another, it’s with a sense of purpose,” said Mr. Dudenhoefer. “When you look at the expression on their faces, it just shows a sense of purpose as well. They believe in their history [and] they believe in who they are and what they’re striving to be. They have a sense of their culture and its place in history, and they’re proud to share that with the world.”
Shen Yun’s website states that something that makes Shen Yun’s performers unique is that they “strive to live by the principles of truth, compassion, and tolerance” and that they “believe that cultivating the heart is the way to create art that is beautifully sublime.” Mr. Dudenhoefer said that he believed that “there has to be something more behind it than just the love of dance.”
“I think discipline comes forth when you watch the way that the dancers work with one another,” he said. “There has to be an inner disciple to live a way of life that allows them to work together the way they do on stage.”
Over the years, Shen Yun has grown from one to eight equally-sized companies that tour the world simultaneously. Shen Yun’s 2023 season is its biggest yet, spanning five continents, over 20 countries, and over 180 cities.
China has 5,000 years of history, and Mr. Dudenhoefer recognized the importance of sharing that history with the rest of world.
He said that the Chinese are “a people whose place in the world made great contributions to what we have today, and it’s worth knowing how that came to be.”
“There’s a saying that those who do not know history will be forced to repeat it … This is a history worth knowing of people who contributed to the world in a meaningful way, and because of that, very worth knowing more about.”
Mr. Dudenhoefer also believed in the importance of inheriting values from other cultures into one’s own.
“I think that in the world, it’s important for us to learn from one another, and where there’s virtue and strength in one place, it’s worthy to know that and learn it and try to make that a part of our life as well.”
Reporting by Stacey Tang and Wandi Zhu.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.